Environmental Chimney Sweep Inc.

The Dangers of Creosote in Your Chimney

Creosote buildup occurs in the chimneys of wood burning fireplaces. It is actually a tar-like buildup that accumulates within the chimney structure. Not only is this a fire hazard, but it can cause numerous other health problems. With as little as 1/8″ being enough to cause a house fire, homeowners are advised to have their chimneys inspected and cleaned at least once a year by an expert.

Common Dangers of Creosote Buildup

  1. Fire – as mentioned above, it takes very little buildup to cause a fire. This is actually one of the top causes of home fires, and it is preventable with regular maintenance. This is something the homeowner should consult a professional in order to ensure it is done properly.
  2. Cancer – creosote is a possible cause of skin cancer. In fact, the professionals that clean chimneys for a living are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer if they do not wear the proper protective clothing while performing their duties.
  3. Skin Irritation – in addition to the risk of cancer, creosote can also cause a variety of other skin irritations. Typically, these are described as excessive redness, burning sensations, and swelling. If the exposure continues, the skin can become extremely sensitive to natural light and may develop sores. If you notice these symptoms, you should consult with your family physician immediately.
  4. Eye Irritation – exposure can cause your eyes to become extremely sensitive to light. You may also notice excessive tearing. In addition, creosote can actually damage your vision.
  5. Other Internal Medical Issues – breathing in creosote fumes can begin to cause irritation throughout your respiratory system. Your mouth, nose, and throat can all become inflamed. There is also the danger of severe respiratory issues as well as digestive problems. At its worst, creosote ingestion will induce a coma and possibly death. Just a small amount of inhaled creosote over prolonged periods of time can cause internal organ damage.
By on October 9th, 2012 | Tagged with: Tags: , | Comments Off on The Dangers of Creosote in Your Chimney

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National Chimney Sweeps Guild Chimney Safety Institute of America